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Area residents send soldiers beef jerky sticks for holidays

HOWARD -- Community members and organizations sent a holiday treat to South Dakota Army and Air National Guard members serving overseas Saturday from Howard.

Mark Geib, of De Smet, and the Jensen family, of Howard, along with the Sky's the Limit Youth Foundation and the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, teamed up to send nearly 750 pounds of donated beef jerky sticks to South Dakota troops serving abroad this holiday season.

"It's a great way to support our troops overseas. I think they're getting a little taste of home," said Brad Jensen, donor and veteran. "I was over there (in Iraq) last time and got some of this meat, and it's a great feeling knowing this stuff is coming from home."

More than 500 soldiers and airmen will receive the beef treats by the New Year.

"I think it gives them the reality of knowing people back home are thinking of them, and just for a moment -- when they can chew on one of these beef sticks -- they can think of back home," said Les Cummings, Operation Cares member, who partnered with the Sky's the Limit Youth Foundation.

A cow, donated by Geib for a second year, was processed at the Howard meat processing plant, while beef processing costs were donated by the diocese, and postage costs were covered by the Jensen family.

"I appreciate our military and everything they do," Geib said. "The reason I'm able to wake up in the morning and have all that I have is because of our military. I just like to be able to give a little something back to them."

Photo courtesy of National Guard

Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, adjutant general for the South Dakota National Guard, thanks Mark Geib, center, and other community members for donating beef jerky sticks to South Dakota troops serving overseas Saturday in Howard. Also pictured, from left, are Brad Jensen, Les Cummings, Mark Jensen and Tim Glanser.